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Cohocton Project Hits News

Huffing and puffing over wind power

Did the federal government, as some have said, give millions of dollars in stimulus funds to a non-producing wind farm in the Southern Tier town of Cohocton? Not exactly.

Cohocton Wind is a 50-turbine project with a total 125-megawatt generation capacity - the potential to power 50,000 homes, say officials with First Wind, Cohocton Wind's parent company. In September, the project was awarded $74.6 million in federal stimulus funds from the US Departments of Energy and Treasury - part of a large block of funding meant to encourage renewable energy development nationwide.

That grant's come under protest, however, by Congress member Eric Massa, who wrote the president to ask that the funding be revoked.

"We should not be rewarding anything, let alone cash grants, to companies like this that have abused the public trust and created such a toxic atmosphere in our region on the topic of wind power," Massa wrote.

The project's been plagued by controversy, including lawsuits and an attorney general's office investigation into First Wind and other wind power development companies. Since the project came online in January, it's been dogged by questions about what it's actually producing electricity-wise - lately that's been one of the most persistent issues. Massa made the claim in his letter, which he sent in September, that the project wasn't producing any power, information he said he received from the organization that operates New York's power grid.

"Nobody knows what they produce or what they don't produce," Massa said in an interview last week. "They demand the privacy of a private corporation and the subsidies of a public utility."

But John Lamontagne, a First Wind spokesperson, says the turbines produced 133,370 megawatt hours of electricity from when they came online in January, to the end of September. That's enough energy to power 1,200 homes with average monthly electricity consumption...

Click here to read the entire City Newspaper article by Jeremy Moule.

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Anonymous Tom Janowski Says:

Though I have supported Eric Massa for many years, he continues to amaze me. As my Congressman, he has proven to be the clear voice of reason and truth -- two things rarely found in an elected official.

Anonymous Mary Huston Says:

Parcel # 032.00-02-012.941 10.49 acres

10897 Gravel pit Row
Assessed value $14,200
Prattsburgh taxes ‘09 $294

Sold to Ecogen in 2005 for unknown amount (I can’t find it) from a tree farmer . Value assumtion in 2005 $10k-$14K (high)
Eco gen sold parcel to itself in 2008 for $102,000. Doubled down took additional tax write off and profit, leveraged the rest at ?%???

Looks like they may have been caught up in the real estate spec downturn. Enter their filing of chapter 11 proceedings.

They are playing inside baseball with accounting and the law. I am appalled we have given them a check for $74M, They have mismanaged their funds and are now terrorizing town of Prattsburgh.

Their claim of $150M in realestate investment has been inflated and is being covered by gag ordered land lease contracts. Talk about obfuscation....

Anonymous hiwayman17 Says:

What happened to the idea of having a good idea, a good business plan and the capital to actually start a business? It seems no one even considers starting a business unless huge tax breaks or subsidies are available right from the start.

I am thankful that Congressman Massa is shining a light on a huge potential problem with the wind turbines. At some point government needs to initiate a hands off policy and let businesses start and fail on their own. If a new business is successful, such as the wind turbine farms, then maybe (I did say maybe) government should consider some "reward" money to inspire a successful, proven business to do more.

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Ecogen did not received $74 million, they have no operating project, get your facts straight

Blogger Bill Says:

Our brave and articulate commentator, "Anonymous", strikes again (read his "Clean Sweep" jab here) with more misguided misinformation. Please reread the City Newspaper article whose facts you've attacked: it clearly states that First Wind was the recipient of the $74.6 million stimulus grant, as further documented in this news report. Nowhere in the article is Ecogen even mentioned. Sorry.


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